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Maire Tecnimont and Save the Children in India

In 2010-13 Maire Tecnimont Group cooperated with the charity Save the Children in a project dedicated to reducing the school dropout rate in India. In the first phase, Save the Children, supported by our Group, worked to create a more child-friendly environment in 13 primary schools of Greater Mumbai and 36 primary schools in the rural areas of Maharashtra, using the BLES (Building Learning Environment in Schools) method. This uses structures and facilities already present in schools as tools to make the learning process easier for both children and teachers, moving from “chalk and talk” to a more engaging and child-centered approach and adapting schooling facilities to the learning needs of the youngest children. The result was a tangible increase in pupils’ attention and engagement, leading to an improved learning level and an enhancement in child retention. The number of new enrolments also rose. In an extension of the first phase, which ended in February 2011, several dedicated learning resource centres were established to equip the children with educational kit, books and school materials.

In the second phase (July 2011 to September 2013), the scope was expanded to cover another 13 primary schools in Greater Mumbai. Efforts were also directed to making the project self-sustaining in the long term. Dedicated workshops were held to train teachers and school principals in the management and maintenance of the reformed facilities, and stakeholders in the project (above all children and parents, but also local communities) were systematically kept informed of and involved in its outcomes. School management committees were trained on the BLES method and on the Right To Education Act by the local NGO, Meljol. More and more teachers and parents were involved in the coordination, monitoring and evaluation of the project, thereby raising awareness of the importance of regular school attendance and education. In addition, 26 children’s groups were trained in child protection issues (gender discrimination, sexual abuse, the right to education).

The success of the project, in terms of reduced dropout rates, makes our Group particularly proud to have worked with Save the Children during the last three years. Our donations have helped about 9,000 pupils aged 6-14 years receive better access to the tools that will make them better educated children and ultimately more aware adults.